How To Make Hummingbird Food

With their rapid wing beats and acrobatic flight, hummingbirds are fascinating creatures to watch. Attracting these tiny birds to your yard or garden with homemade nectar can be easy and rewarding. But what’s the best recipe for hummingbird food?

Let’s look at the key ingredients and steps for making healthy, nourishing nectar they’ll love.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: the basic ingredients for homemade hummingbird food are just white refined sugar and water, mixed at a 1:4 ratio. Don’t use honey, artificial sweeteners, food coloring, or additives.


Sugar is a key ingredient in making hummingbird food. It provides the necessary energy for these tiny birds to fuel their fast-paced metabolism. When choosing the type of sugar to use, it is important to opt for white refined sugar.

White Refined Sugar

White refined sugar is the most recommended type of sugar for making hummingbird food. It dissolves easily in water, ensuring that the mixture is smooth and consistent. The absence of impurities in white refined sugar makes it safe for hummingbirds to consume.

Ratio to Water

The ideal ratio for making hummingbird food is 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. This ensures that the mixture is not too concentrated or diluted, providing the right balance of sweetness for the birds. To make a larger batch, you can use 1 cup of sugar for every 4 cups of water.

Do Not Use Honey or Artificial Sweeteners

Although honey may seem like a natural alternative, it is not recommended for making hummingbird food. Honey can promote the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi, which can be detrimental to the health of hummingbirds.

Similarly, artificial sweeteners should be avoided, as they do not provide the same energy benefits as sugar.

For more information on making hummingbird food and attracting these beautiful creatures to your garden, you can visit reputable websites such as or


When it comes to making hummingbird food, water is an essential ingredient. Hummingbirds need water not only for drinking, but also for bathing and preening their feathers. It is important to provide clean and fresh water for these tiny birds to stay hydrated and maintain their overall health.

Plain Water Only

When making hummingbird food, it is crucial to use plain water only. Tap water is generally safe to use as long as it is free from any contaminants such as chemicals or heavy metals. If you are unsure about the water quality in your area, you can consider using filtered or bottled water to ensure its purity.

Using plain water is important because hummingbirds are attracted to the natural sweetness of nectar, and any added flavorings or colors may deter them from visiting your feeder. It is best to avoid using artificial sweeteners, honey, or other additives as they can be harmful to hummingbirds’ delicate digestive systems.

No Flavorings or Colors

Hummingbirds are naturally attracted to vibrant and colorful flowers, so it may be tempting to add food coloring to your homemade hummingbird food. However, it is best to avoid adding any artificial colors as they can be harmful to the birds.

The color of your feeder and the nectar’s natural sweetness will be enough to attract hummingbirds.

Similarly, avoid using flavored water or adding fruit juices to your hummingbird food. While these may seem like a tasty treat for us, they can be harmful to hummingbirds. Stick to plain water and white granulated sugar to create a safe and nutritious nectar for these delightful birds.

For more information on how to make hummingbird food and attract these beautiful creatures to your garden, you can visit Audubon’s website. Remember, providing clean water and avoiding any additives is key to keeping hummingbirds happy and healthy!

Mixing the Nectar

Heating Water

When making hummingbird food, it is important to use the right proportions of sugar and water. Start by heating water on the stove until it reaches a gentle boil. This will help to dissolve the sugar more effectively and create a clear nectar for the hummingbirds.

Remember to use a clean pot and fresh water to ensure the quality of the nectar.

Stirring Thoroughly

Once the water has reached a gentle boil, carefully add the sugar to the pot. The recommended ratio is 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. For example, if you’re using 1 cup of sugar, mix it with 4 cups of water. Stir the mixture thoroughly until all the sugar is dissolved.

This will ensure that the nectar is evenly sweetened, providing the hummingbirds with the energy they need.

Cooling Before Use

After stirring the sugar and water mixture, allow it to cool completely before using it to fill your hummingbird feeders. Pour the nectar into clean, sterilized feeders and place them in a shaded area of your garden.

It’s important to note that you should never use artificial sweeteners, honey, or syrup in the nectar as they can be harmful to hummingbirds.

Making your own hummingbird food is not only cost-effective but also allows you to control the ingredients and ensure the well-being of these beautiful creatures. Remember to clean the feeders regularly and replace the nectar every few days, especially during hot weather, to prevent fermentation and the growth of harmful bacteria.

Storing and Cleaning


When it comes to storing hummingbird food, refrigeration is not necessary. Hummingbird food is made with a simple syrup solution of sugar and water, which can be stored at room temperature. However, it is important to ensure that the container you use to store the food is clean and free from any contaminants.

This will help maintain the freshness and quality of the food for the hummingbirds.

Changing Frequently

Hummingbird food should be changed regularly to prevent spoilage and bacterial growth. It is recommended to change the food every 3 to 5 days, especially during warmer weather. This will ensure that the food remains fresh and safe for the hummingbirds to consume.

Additionally, changing the food frequently also helps to attract more hummingbirds to your feeder, as they are more likely to visit when the food is fresh.

Cleaning Feeders

Regular cleaning of hummingbird feeders is essential to maintain the health and well-being of the hummingbirds. Feeders should be cleaned every time the food is changed to remove any mold or bacteria that may have formed. To clean the feeder, use a mixture of hot water and mild dish soap.

Scrub the feeder thoroughly, including all the nooks and crannies, and rinse it well to remove any soap residue. Make sure to dry the feeder completely before refilling it with fresh hummingbird food.

Pro tip: To make cleaning easier, choose a hummingbird feeder that is easy to disassemble. This will allow you to thoroughly clean all the parts of the feeder, ensuring that it is free from any dirt or contaminants.

Feeder Setup

Feeder Types

When it comes to setting up a hummingbird feeder, there are a few different types to choose from. The most common type is a bottle feeder, which consists of a plastic bottle with holes for the nectar to come out.

These are easy to clean and refill, making them a popular choice for many bird enthusiasts. Another option is a saucer feeder, which is a shallow dish with a central reservoir for the nectar. This type of feeder is great for attracting multiple hummingbirds at once.

Multi-Feeder Placement

Placing multiple feeders in your yard can help attract more hummingbirds. It’s a good idea to spread them out to provide enough space for the birds to feed without feeling overcrowded. Hang the feeders at different heights to accommodate hummingbirds’ flying preferences.

By having multiple feeders, you increase the chances of attracting a wider variety of hummingbird species.

Other Attractants

While setting up feeders is an essential part of attracting hummingbirds, there are other things you can do to make your yard even more appealing to these tiny birds. Planting brightly colored flowers that produce nectar, such as petunias, salvias, and bee balms, can provide an additional food source for hummingbirds.

Additionally, providing perches and water sources, such as shallow birdbaths or misters, can create a welcoming environment for these beautiful creatures.

For more information on hummingbird feeders and attracting hummingbirds to your yard, you can visit the Audubon Society’s website. They provide valuable resources and tips for creating a hummingbird-friendly habitat.


With the right ratio of sugar to water and proper hygiene, making your own hummingbird nectar is easy. Offering fresh homemade food in clean feeders, along with flowers and other habitat features, will create an enticing environment for hummingbirds.

Watching these energetic birds feed on the nectar you made yourself is an extremely rewarding experience for any nature lover.

Similar Posts